Jazz Guitar: Guide-Tones in Forward Motion

jazz guitar improvisation Feb 12, 2015



Many thanks to Marc-Andre for creation of this website! :)

I have learned all of the basic scales - Major modes, Harmonic Minor, Diminished, etc and their respective arpeggios but I was wondering if you have any tips/exercises for landing the guide tones on beats 1 and 3.

Thanks in advance



M-A's Answer:

Excellent question, and yes I do.

I practiced long and hard to have control over what notes would "fall" on the beats 1 and 3.

After extensive questioning, researching and practicing on my own, I stumbled upon a book titled Forward Motion. This book, along other teachings by pianist Hal Galper, really opened my "rhytmic ears".

First thing I discovered is that 1 and 3 and the strongest beats in the bar. The second thing I discovered is that for music to have any kind of direction (forward!), the melodies cannot start on these beats : 1 and 3 are points of arrival, NOT starting points.

So I tried to come up with ways to "land" on beats 1 and 3, as you asked in your question.

It's fairly easy after all. You have to reconsider the way you "hear" the regular bars of 4/4 like this:

If you start your scales/modes/arpeggios like that, with a pickup on the "and" of 3, you'll create a rhythmic momentum. You'll really hear the "points of arrival" on the strong beats.

I created a few online examples for you to practice. They're G major and melodic minor modes (with "bebop" passing tones) and arpeggios with pickups on the "and" of three. (TABS included)

Before you start, remember:

1- The PDF's are just examples, create your own exercises and fingerings.

2- Check out Hal Galper's Forward Motion book, it will surely give you a lot more ideas.

Here :

I hope it can help you hear the guide tones landing on the strong beats.


Practice Well,

Marc-Andre Seguin

Once that Forward Motion concept makes sense to you, take a look at Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony .

Comments for Jazz Guitar : Guide-Tones in Forward Motion

Jan 18, 2011
GREAT book!
by: Anonymous

I can't recommend Hal Galper's book enough. It is a jewel among books. If you've got your scales and chords down but still have trouble making your lines sound right, then I suggest getting the Forward Motion book. Many teachers give lines but seldom explain why certain notes are placed WHERE they are. This book explains it, and does it very well.

PS. Ligon's book is also excellent in giving one the templates for good voice leading in a linear and melodic way.

Best regards

Jan 04, 2010
Squeezing Fingers
by: ric

Opened the door a little bit for me/thank you.



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